Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies arrest alleged squatters on burglary charges

An alert neighbor helped Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies nab a couple who allegedly had been squatting in several nearby residences — and allegedly had burglarized a third home.

The man, who lives at Murchie Mine and Red Ranch roads, called at about 7 a.m. to report a suspicious white Mustang parked for several days with a man and woman who had possibly been squatting at a residence.

Deputies responded and found a woman standing near the opened trunk of the Mustang and saw her putting things in the trunk, said Capt. Jeff Pettitt. She allegedly closed the trunk as soon as she saw the deputies, Pettitt said.

The woman, who identified herself as Heather Marie Hood, 35, told the deputies she was staying at a friend’s house.

The Mustang was found to be registered to a man identified as Joshua David Packard, 31. Hood allegedly said Packard was at a house across the street, then admitted they had been squatting in the vacant residence.

Hood was found to have a local misdemeanor warrant, Pettitt said. After she was taken into custody, she was found to have the Mustang’s keys, and the vehicle was then searched.

Deputies found computer equipment, china and candleholders in the trunk, and Hood had no explanation for why the objects were there, Pettitt said.

Packard was contacted by deputies as he came outside and allegedly admitted to squatting at that residence, as well as another house in the area.

Deputies learned of a residence that had recently been burglarized, and the owner was contacted, linking items missing from the residence to those found in the Mustang, Pettitt said.

Hood was arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary, criminal conspiracy, being in possession of stolen property, and trespassing, as well as the warrant. She also was charged with possessing drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance without a prescription. She was being held without bail.

Packard was arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary, criminal conspiracy, being in possession of stolen property and trespassing. He was being held in county jail in lieu of $50,750 bail.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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The Union Updated Jun 18, 2013 12:24AM Published Jun 19, 2013 12:03PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.